Boutique owning isn’t for everyone.
And especially not for me.
I learned the hard way that boutique owning is only successful if you’re like r e a l l y passionate about it. That’s how business owning in general is. You can’t be successful at owning a business unless it’s something you truly love and believe in. I mean, I guess it probably is possible and I’m just being dramatic, but it will be a lot easier to build a successful business if you truly love what you’re doing.
I think boutiques are awesome, and we all deserve to spoil ourselves to a brand new piece of clothing here and there. They’re a great place to find on trend clothing and accessories while supporting a small business – and I’m alllll about supporting small businesses.
However, I’m really not much of a boutique girly. I’ve never desired to stay on trend, and since I can remember I’ve always preferred to shop second hand (minus those awkward teenage years when wearing name brand was the only thing to do otherwise you were like totally lame and can’t sit with us).
The short answer to why I switched from boutique to resale is because second hand is my thing. It’s my JAM.
But there’s so much more to it. Let’s dive in.
Actually, before we dive in, I just want to put a small disclaimer that in no way am I shaming boutiques. There are your boutique girlies and there are your thrift shop girlies and that’s super cool. Thrifting is my personal preference and I 100% still support boutiques. After being in the boutique world for one whole year, I’ve made several boutique friends and I absolutely love to see them thriving.
So hey, let’s start off with who I am.
Hi, I’m Amy! Owner of Sunny + Olive, and the only person to blame for getting me into these really awkward positions, aka, opening a boutique and deciding 6 months later that it wasn’t for me :/.
While opening this boutique has been an absolute whirlwind of an adventure, it has taught me some seriously valuable lessons, like maybe not jumping into a life changing decisions before doing your research or like … I don’t know, testing it out? Maybe your intuition is telling you to slow down for a reason?
Before I get into the nitty gritty of why boutique owning didn’t work for me, let me tell you a bit about myself.
I’m a serial entrepreneur. I have at least 10 business ideas stewing around in my head at any given moment.
I am a go-getter so whatever I want, it’s mine, and once my mind is set, nothing can stop me.
I am also very spontaneous and open to adventures.
Which is why when I got the sudden itch to completely change career directions, I didn’t second guess it and went at it full force.
Before Sunny + Olive, I was a full-time boudoir photographer and absolutely loved it. I wanted to be a full-time photographer since I was a kid and I made that dream a reality in 2020. But, because I apparently thrive in chaos and love change, just a year and a half later I was laser focused on starting a new business.
The one thing these two businesses have in common was that they were focused on being totally inclusive of all body shapes and sizes. I’ve always wanted to help women feel comfortable in their bodies, whether fully clothed or absolutely nude.
After shopping several boutiques and clothing stores the year before opening S+O I noticed most shops lacked size-inclusive clothing and I became highly frustrated that I could never find clothing in my size.
So I set out to open Sunny + Olive with the intention of being a size-inclusive boutique that promoted self-love and authenticity and gave people a place to feel comfortable being themselves.
My Why was there … but I chose the wrong avenue to express it.
Let’s dig in to why boutique owning just isn’t for me.
I Lacked Passion
In case that wasn’t already obvious.
From the moment I decided to open a boutique, I knew it was wrong, (*GASP*) and no amount of “Amy are you sure?” could stop me from moving forward regardless of my hesitation.
No, I wasn’t sure, but I was convinced that if I just pushed forward and gave it a chance I would come to love it. This dream was planted in my head for a reason, right? I wanted to help women love themselves so this had to work, right?
Turns out, I ended up greatly disliking it.
“Amy, why didn’t you like it?”
First off, I’ve never really been a ‘buy new’ girly. My entire closet is mostly thrifted. I love a good bargain and finding something super dope for a killer price. Also, my style changes with the season so I can’t bring myself to pay full price for something I’ll only wear a handful of times. If I find something I absolutely adore and know for sure it’ll be a closet staple, I don’t mind splurging. As a boutique owner though, I had a really tough time finding styles that I felt warranted the high price tag of a brand new item. How was I supposed to talk you into spending $50+ on something when I wouldn’t do so myself?Which leads me to my next point.
Secondly, I very much disliked shopping for new styles, which is most boutique owners’ favorite part. This whole point could seriously be put into a blog post of it’s own. The main reason I struggled so dang hard finding styles I loved for the boutique was because I set out to be a totally size inclusive boutique, which meant I needed all sizes in all styles. I didn’t want anyone to feel excluded. You would be so shook by how hard it is to find stylish clothing that also comes in plus sizes. Just trying to find XL clothing was difficult. The fashion industry is sick y’all, SICK. I ended up buying so many styles I didn’t personally love, which made it really hard to sell and post about because I simply wasn’t excited, and that clearly showed, which lead to low sales. It’s a vicious cycle.
Next, I couldn’t find any brands I trusted. Sustainability has become a huge priority of mine, and everyday I’m looking for new ways to become more and more sustainable both in my personal life and business. It was really hard finding brands that produced sustainable, high quality clothing, again, in all sizes. I found myself sidestepping my own morals and purchasing from brands that I didn’t 100% trust just so I could pay my bills and give my customers affordable clothing. It made me SICK. We’re living in a world that is shifting it’s mindset towards a more sustainable future and I just couldn’t bring myself to continue contributing to fast fashion. I want to point out that there is a way to be a sustainable clothing boutique, but it’s difficult and expensive and I just didn’t have the talent or resources for it.
Further, we are living in questionable economic times and I just couldn’t bring myself to try and sell people on a basic $50+ sweater when people are struggling to put food on the table. Not only that, but places like SHEIN and Amazon have made it totally normal to find cheap alternatives (and cheaply made), so why spend $50 on this sweater that I can find on Amazon for $20? :/
Lastly, there was no sense or feeling of individuality. I’m a strong believer in owning up to your own individual style and expressing your individuality, and I didn’t feel like my boutique pieces did that. I love finding a unique piece and knowing that I’m (probably) the only person in my town wearing it. As a boutique owner, I was buying the same styles that several hundreds or thousands of other boutiques are also purchasing. Take it from Macklemore,
“That shirt’s hella dope, and having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t“
Boutique owning is a talent, and a talent that I simply don’t possess. The boutique owners I know are GOOD at owning boutiques and absolutely love it, and it shows. They know how to find styles their customers will love, they’re great at promoting themselves online and selling themselves in store, and they know how to WORK. IT. Boutique owning is simply not for me, and I’ll leave it to the professionals.
Resale though? That’s my freakin’ JAM.
Since I was a kid I have been forced into countless Goodwills and Salvation Army’s. As a kid? Embarrassing. As an adult though? Hell yeah, brother.
As I got older I learned the value and excitement that comes when you find a piece of GOLD among hundreds of pieces of coal. Thrifting isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy finding the needle in a haystack, you’re going to love it.
I’ve always loved when people would compliment a piece of my outfit and I got to say “Thanks, got it at Goodwill” and they were SHOOK. I love wearing pieces you can’t just find anywhere. Bold prints, vintage, handmade items … CHEF’S KISS.
All of this grew into the love I have for thrifting today, and I now have so many more reasons behind why I thrift almost every item in my closet.
Why I LOVE Thrifting
Thrifting is SUSTAINABLE which has become immensely important in my life recently. I felt like I was going against my own morals by selling brand new clothing. There’s definitely ways to stay sustainable while selling boutique clothing, but I think buying resale will always beat it. We already have everything we need, and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, amiright? I plan on doing a deep deep dive into why thrifting is sustainable so make sure you sign up for emails if you’re interested in learning more.
Thrifting gives us a sense of individuality. I’m a firm believer that the clothes you wear are a direct indication of who you are. Your style is your brand and your brand should be unique to you. Thrifting allows you to find some truly unique pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. From vintage clothing to handmade items; it’s incredible what you can find with a little digging. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing someone who’s wearing the same shirt as me and being like
Because it means we have a similar style and we should probably be bffs.
But, I also LOVE knowing that what I’m wearing is hard to replicate and probably pretty hard to find an exact copy. Fashion is following trends, but STYLE is knowing what you LOVE and what sets you apart. Your style is who you are.
Thrifting is AFFORDABLE. You can find high end, name brand, designer clothing in like new condition for half the price! All because someone wore it a few times. GIMME. If you don’t really care about designer clothes, you can find a super basic old navy tee for half the price too. You’re saving money regardless, and who doesn’t love saving money? In THIS economy?
It’s FUN. “Amy, describe your perfect date.” We stop at the local coffee shop, order a delicious iced matcha with white mocha sauce, pull up maps and find any and all thrift shops in that area and hit every single one of them. We end the day with an entire new wardrobe (oops).
I love exploring different shops and seeing what they offer. Every shop is so different and you never know what absolute gems you’ll find. It’s like an adventure, and you know I love adventures (can you tell I’m a Sagittarius?).
Lastly, it’s doing something for the community, and I looooovee my community. At Sunny + Olive, any item that doesn’t sell (with the permission of the consignor of course) gets donated to women’s shelters and non-profits. We also have a program where you can donate your clothing, and 50% of the sales price will get donated to charities. So you can feel really good that you’re helping the Earth AND you’re helping your fellow humans.
So, What’s the Plan?
Sunny + Olive is now an upscale consignment shop filled with gently used name brand clothing, books, records, good music, PLANTS, and all the good vibes.
Sunny + Olive aims to be a place that people can feel comfortable shopping at no matter who they are, where they come from, how they identify, what size they are, etc. This is a judgement free zone. I want to share my love of thrifting and individuality with those who value the same things.
While Sunny + Olive is a women’s consignment shop, we invite those of you who love to dress in all things feminine to stop in and shop to your hearts desire.
We carry sizes xxs to 5x and we’re always looking to expand. You can expect quality clothing for affordable prices in an atmosphere that’s welcoming and ready to extend all the love your way.
We may be small, but we are mighty.
Welcome to Sunny + Olive 2.0: The Resale Shop.
This is So Me
For the first time in a year, I feel right. I’ve spent the last year confused, lost, and not like myself. After making the really hard decision to rebrand, it’s like a weight was lifted. Life is way too short to do something you don’t enjoy. I know Sunny + Olive 2.0 is going to thrive because it’s something I love and believe in, and that’s going to show on the outside. The vibes gotta vibe, ya know? If I’m not vibing with what I’m doing, people aren’t going to vibe with me.
I’m beyond excited for the future of Sunny + Olive. I cannot wait to see all the treasures we get in, all the outfits we help create, all the smiles we put on peoples’ faces, and of course all the new people we will meet.
Cheers to 2023 and new adventures, my friends. Let’s do this.
Amy Kelley – Owner – Sunny + Olive
Following your passion is never a bad thing. I feel like we would wear the same clothes and be BFFs 😀 (I’m a Sagittarius, too). Looking forward to stopping by to see what you have. Should be something a little different each time. How exciting!
Thanks so much Jessica! Love getting to meet fellow Sags! We put out new styles daily so there will always be something new! Can’t wait to see you again!
This gave me goosebumps!! You can tell this is what you’re meant to do. I am so beyond happy for you and even more excited to meet you and see your new baby (store)! You and I have so much in common, just based off this blog, and I am so thrilled to have one more business owner putting people and the planet first! I wish you nothing but the best and all the success you can handle!
I can’t thank you enough for all your encouragement and support, Cassandra! You are such a ray of sunshine and I’m glad we’re on this sustainable business owning journey together!
Amy this is amazing. Congratulations on your rebrand- your passion for this avenue is evident! I can’t wait to come and shop sometime soon when I am in the neighborhood!
Thank you so much Morgan! Can’t wait to see you again sometime soon!
I figured you were a Sagittarius. You sound a lot like myself -11/29. Looking forward to checking your shop out seeing you carry plus size. As a boutique I wouldn’t have even thought of coming in knowing there’s nothing there for a gal like me . Best wishes on your new venture! Jane
Wow, we are so close! 11/27 here 🙂 I appreciate you coming in recently and hope you enjoyed your time in! Hope I get to see you again soon!! Thank you so much Jane!!